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Why so many adults are embarrassed discussing self-pleasure

Nearly two in three think masturbation and sex toys are a taboo subject, while 15 percent would talk more openly about it if there wasn’t such a stigma around being open about pleasure.

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African american woman wearing floral summer t-shirt over isolated yellow background peeking in shock covering face and eyes with hand, looking through fingers with embarrassed expression.
Self-pleasure doesn't have to feel embarassing. (Shift Drive via Shutterstock)

By Fran Tuckey, 72Point via SWNS

More than half of adults wouldn’t dream of telling a partner about their need to self-pleasure - but 39 percent feel guilty if they do it in secret.

The survey of 2,000 adults revealed 81 percent don’t feel confident enough to discuss their solo sexual needs.

And only 36 percent own a sex toy.

Of those who don’t, 11 percent would be embarrassed if anyone knew they owned one, while 10 percent wouldn’t know which sex toy to start with as a beginner.

But 18 percent feel empowered by how sex toys and women’s health is represented in today’s culture.

It also emerged that despite 28 percent admitting their partner is more open about their habits, more than a third would feel embarrassed talking about it in the same manner.

Gemma Collins, speaking on behalf of Durex following her collaboration with the brand, which commissioned the research, said: “Huns! Why do we all still view self-love and sex toys with so much embarrassment? It's 2022!

“The GC knows we all need to go on our own journey when it comes to pleasure but why put up roadblocks for ourselves and each other with all this old-fashioned stigma.

“I think self-love is an amazing gift that we should celebrate, it can make us feel empowered, satisfied and stress free, what’s better than that?”

The survey also found more than a third admitted they haven’t been achieving their sexual pleasure needs, with more than two-thirds naming a sex toy as an essential part in helping them reach climax.

Nearly two in three think masturbation and sex toys are a taboo subject, while 15 percent would talk more openly about it if there wasn’t such a stigma around being open about pleasure.

Just under a tenth wish their friends spoke more openly about sex toy usage, while 31 percent would feel more confident buying and using a sex toy if they knew someone else who did.

On average, it took five years for those who were sexually active to start experimenting with sex toys.

But just two-fifths are very confident in introducing new things to their sex life.

When asked how masturbation makes them feel, satisfied, relaxed and happy came out on top.

However, 16 percent feel guilty, while 13 percent feel embarrassed and 11 percent feel nervous.

Of those who took part in the survey, carried out through OnePoll, 35 percent would feel more confident in achieving what they want sexually if the topic was discussed more openly in the media.

Nikki Hayward, wellness category manager at Durex, added: “We are thrilled to have partnered with Gemma Collins on the launch of an exciting new range of sex toys from Durex.

“We love how empowered Gemma feels about achieving the pleasure she knows she deserves for herself - and want everyone else to feel the same.

“Let’s hope this encourages us all to have more open and honest conversations about masturbation and the use of sex toys, whether on your own or with someone else.

“We hope that people can shake off the stigma and ditch the taboo, feelings of shame and embarrassment on something that should be a way to feel real pleasure, enjoyment and satisfaction.”

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